Abraham Henry NADEN
Rank: Private
Number: S/11620
Date of Death: 23 April 1917
Age: 24
Cemetery: Guemappe British Cemetery, Wancourt, Pas de Calais, France

Not only is Abraham's surname spelt wrongly as Nadem on the Stockport War Memorial, but his connection with the immediate area is unknown. It is possible that he worked in Stockport or had a relative who moved to the area who wanted to commemorate him.

He was born in Bosley, near Macclesfield, where his father, also called Abraham, farmed at Dawson's Farm. The 1901 Census records that Abraham, senior, was then 49 and his wife, Sarah, was 51. His two eldest sons, Thomas and Frank, worked on the farm. Apart from 8 year old Abraham, their other children were Annetta, and Elizabeth.

It was often the case that children named after their father would be known by their middle name to distinguish them. It is possible that Abraham is the man recorded on the Bosley War Memorial as Harry Naden.  

Abraham enlisted in Manchester quite early in the war, choosing to join the Highlanders. Although he is not believed to have any Scottish ancestry, many young men said, at the time, that joining a kilted regiment added to the excitement of going to fight. The newly formed 8th Battalion went overseas in May 1916.

On 23 April, the second phrase of the Battle of Arras was launched at 4.45am. Abraham and his comrades were in assembly trenches at Wancourt (about 5 kilometres south west of Arras).Their objective was a couple of kilometres away at Guemappe.

"B", "C" and "D" Companies advanced at zero hour, with "A" Company being held in reserve.  Within the first 20 minutes there had been many casualties and the attacking troops had been held up by heavy machine gun fire coming from the left. They managed to make some progress but had to dig-in 200 yards west of Guemappe, at which time troops from "A" Company were sent forward as re-enforcements.

By 7.30, there were signs that some parties of the enemy were withdrawing from their trenches and these became targets for the Seaforth's Lewis gunners. At 10am, news arrived that Guemappe itself had been captured by other Battalions and this allowed the Seaforths to move forward again. At 10.15, the officer commanding "A" Company reported that his Company and "B" and "D" were east of the village and trying to consolidate their position but there was heavy shellfire and considerable rifle and machine gun fire. "C" was to the north of the village and only had two officers left.

At 11am, the commander of "A" Company had been wounded and reported back to Battalion HQ that the position east of the villages was untenable and it had not been possible to consolidate. Half an hour later, the Battalion on the right of the Seaforths began to fall back and this necessitated a withdrawal by the Seaforths to prevent them from being cut off.

By 1pm, all the troops that were able to, had withdrawn back to the west of Guemappe, where they dug-in for the night. The total Battalion strength was only 5 officers and 130 other ranks. Over three hundred were dead, wounded or missing.

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